A play this weekend at Truman High School is bound to rouse audiences by its topical subject matter.
THS’s theater department will present “The Children’s Hour,” and the only thing childish about it is in the title.
“I think it (the play) is extremely revelant in today’s society and politics,” said play director and Truman theater instructor Ron Meyer. “It was very controversial for its time and also demonstrates how rumors can devestate people’s lives.”
“Children’s Hour” takes place at an early 20th century boarding school where a malicious 12-year-old accuses two teachers of being lesbians.
“It’s really about how lies or rumors are spread,” said sophomore Karly Kinsey, who plays one of the accused teachers.
Meyer said there are no lewd or suggestive scenes, as the play was originally performed in 1934.
“There is nothing in it to make the audience feel uncomfortable,” he said. “And the material is handled delicately and tame compared to today’s standards.” He said that he is very much the “traditionalist” where the original source material is concerned, and it has not been altered to fit modern times.
Meyer explained “The Children’s Hour” was based on a true incident that occurred in Scotland during the 1800s. The play was controversial when it was first performed in the 1930s and even banned in both Chicago and Boston as a result. It was later adapted into a 1961 movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.
“’Children’s Hour’ is a story that needs to be brought to light,” Meyer adds.
For this particular play, an intimate venue was chosen in order “to get the audience to feel as they are part of the play’s classroom.” Seating will only be availabe on the stage itself as opposed to the entire auditorium.
Although seating is limited, Meyer encourages everyone to attend one of the show’s three performances because he is “really curious how audiences will react and respond to the play’s subject matter.”
But should only mature audiences watch this particular production? “No,” said Meyer. “It applies to middle school students on up.” The dissemination of rumors and the consequences can certainly resonate with that age group and older, he adds.
“It’s a very contemporary story given what’s going on in today’s world.”
IF YOU GO...
“The Children’s Hour” performed by Truman High Schoool is running Feb. 21, 22 and 23. The play will be held at the school’s auditorium at 3301 South Noland Road in Independence. It starts at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7 in advance and $8 at the door. To purchase tickets, call 816-521-5350.
Abby Becker - Peggy Rogers Sam Duvall - Catherine MyKayla Orner - Lois Fisher Maddie LeVota - Mrs. Lily Mortar Abby Shultz - Evelyn Munn Amy Ramirez - Helen Burton Hailey Quinn - Rosalie Wells Chase Holman-Eddleblute - Janet Olyvia Jones - Leslie Lizzie Williams - Mary Tilford Tabitha Williams - Karen Wright Karly Kinsey - Martha Dobie Jacob Snow - Dr. Joseph Cardin Kati Watts - Agatha Rosie Smith - Mrs. Amelia Tilford Joel Fears - Grocery Boy
Ron Meyer - Director Kerry Chafin - Technical Director and Designer Kim Stevenson - Assistant to the Director Brenden Chandler - Booth Manager Kim Stevenson - Deck Manager Lauren Connor - Lighting Engineer Zack Johnson - Sound Engineer Mitch Pritchard and Joel Fears - Flymen Brittny Brown, Jazzmin Matchette and Destiny Moore - Properties Matt Borgeois, Logan Easter, Parker Elefson, Dyllan Graves, Brian Lightbourne, Hunter Margo, Mitch Pritchard, Stevon Sickles, Shawn Silver and Jesse Ulberg - Running Crew Shea Hedrick, Kali Shoaf and Lexi Tentori - Costumes and Makeup Carly Beck, Hannah Cavendar and Sean Murray - Box Office Austen Howe - House Management Savannah Ross - Gift Runner